Guidance for Conferences

Conference organisers do bear responsibility for ensuring their events are inclusive and safe for all attending. Ensuring this is largely about prevention and having a clear policy in place.

Code of Conduct

Have a clear code of conduct on the main website and on the registration page, preferably with a tick box to acknowledge registrants will abide by the rules. State that you reserve the right to decide admission based on these values:

"Registration indicates that you are willing to abide by this Code of Conduct. This is a private meeting and admission is at the discretion of the organisers."

An example code of conduct:

The organizers are committed to making this meeting productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion. We will not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Please follow these guidelines:

Behave professionally. Harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate. Harassment includes sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, sexual attention or innuendo, deliberate intimidation, stalking, and photography or recording of an individual without consent. It also includes offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees.

Participants asked to stop any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the organizers without a refund of any charge.

Any participant who wishes to report a violation of this policy is asked to speak, in confidence, to (contact details).

This code of conduct is based on the “London Code of Conduct”, as originally designed for the conference “Accurate Astrophysics. Correct Cosmology”, held in London in July 2015. The London Code was adapted with permission by Andrew Pontzen and Hiranya Peiris from a document by Software Carpentry, which itself derives from original Creative Commons documents by PyCon and Geek Feminism. It is released under a CC-Zero license for reuse. To help track people’s improvements and best practice, please retain this acknowledgement, and log your re-use or modification of this policy at http://github.com/apontzen/london_cc.

Allow Reasonable Time for Action

Ensure that registrations are only accepted up until at least several working days before the conference date. A late registration by a perpetrator can result in their being too little information and time to deal effectively with the situation.

Stronger Actions

An email requesting that the perpetrator's registration has not been accepted is the first option, once the organising committee has decided that their attendance would be problematic. Bear in mind that even seeking confirmation of the existences of upheld processes from institutions is very hard and time-consuming and while it should be attempted, decisions should be made on balance of probability, not beyond reasonable doubt. If in doubt, the safety of your attendees is paramount.

Following a refusal to withdraw their registration you might liase with the venue security and inform them that this person is not to be accepted within the conference. Inform the perpetrator that you have taken this action.

Active Bystander Leaflets

Promote a good culture so future problems are not initiated or perpetuated at your conference. As well as including the code of conduct in the conference pack, make sure that those behaviours are not tolerated by enforcing it. This responsibility should be delegated equally to all organisers.
Consider including materials on how to engage all the attendees in keeping the culture pleasant, for example by printing out the active bystander methods, for example from Imperial College London:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/engineering/staff/human-resources/active-bystander/
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/faculty-of-engineering/public/Bystander_Poster_one-sided_A3_TP.pdf

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